Midnight operation, 200 NIA officers: How mega crackdown on PFI terror links was planned

A meeting was chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs officials of the ED, NIA and IB three days back in which the mega crackdown on PFI was planned, sources said.

How the mega NIA crackdown on PFI terror links was planned | All you need to know
Members of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) raise slogans as police personnel escort officers of NIA in Madurai (Photo: PTI)

The massive, multi-agency crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI) was discussed by the Home Ministry and officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED), and Intelligence Bureau on September 19, sources told India Today. Sources said that a meeting was held with officials of MHA and top officials of central agencies following which the mega crackdown on PFI was carried out in a secret manner.

'Operation Midnight' was carried out at night so that PFI activists and workers could not create a ruckus. The operation started post midnight and six control rooms were set up for the operation. Most of the NIA teams have now returned to different branches after carrying out Operation Midnight. Sources said that the Home Ministry was monitoring the entire crackdown.

Teams of NIA and ED were sent on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday and sleuths began a pan-India crackdown on PFI. As many as 106 people, including top leaders of PFI, were arrested after raids were carried out by the NIA, ED and state police in a co-ordianted action across 10 states. These searches were being conducted in the residential and official premises of persons involved in funding terrorism, organising training camps and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations.

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Around 200 NIA personnel, including four IGs, ADG, 16 SPs carried out the raids. All dossiers of more than 200 PFI suspects have been handed over to the concerned team. More than 150 mobile phones, over 50 laptops, incriminating material which includes documents, vision documents, and enrollment forms were also seized.

Reece of all suspects was done for a week and the operation, which started at 1 pm ended at 5 am on Thursday morning.


A remand report was filed by the NIA on September 19 pertaining to the arrest of four accused after raids were carried out in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The report revealed that PFI is trying to plot terrorist activity and is giving training to PFI activists to identify and kill people from a particular religion.


Recently, the MHA was made aware by the central agencies that PFI was covertly mobilizing funds through a well-organised network in Gulf countries as a part of a criminal conspiracy. The proceeds of crime were secretly and clandestinely sent to India through underground and illegal channels and through foreign remittances into the bank accounts of sympathizers, office bearers, members and their relatives along with associates in India.

The funds were later transferred to the bank accounts of PFI, RIF and other individuals and entities. The funds were found to have been placed, layered and integrated and therefore projected as untainted money in the bank accounts of PFI. This was being done as a part of a larger criminal conspiracy of PFI and its related entities to raise funds within the country and abroad to carry out various unlawful activities.

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday held a meeting wherein the ongoing searches at premises linked to the Popular Front of India and action against terror suspects, were believed to have been discussed, officials said.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Dinkar Gupta were among the top officials who attended the high-level meeting.

Shah is said to have took stock of the action taken against the terror suspects and activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) across the country.

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